The Dive Team is comprised of current and former firefighters as well as EMS personnel. As with the Fire Department, the equipment, methodology, and training has changed since its inception, but one very important part of this equation remains unchanged--ITS MEMBERSHIP. In the early years, members provided their own personal gear. Through their pride, courage, honor, and community involvement the members of the Port Washington Fire Department Dive Team continue to provide waterside safety to the citizens and tourists of Port Washington.
There are 2 components to the dive team – Surface Support and Divers. Surface Support personnel are the backbone of the dive team – these are the people who help divers gear up, review checklists, communication signals, contingency plans, and control the divers search patterns from the surface. Without this key component, the dive team would be much less effective.
The divers execute the search, usually in low visibility conditions. Divers begin by obtaining an Open Water certification through one of several certifying agencies. Further diver education is available and encouraged to enhance the individual's skill level. Courses include, Advanced Open Water, Ice Diver, Rescue Dive, Search & Recovery Diver, and Dive Rescue 1. In addition, the U. S. Coast Guard provides Surface Ice Rescue training to the entire Fire Department.
Being a member of the Port Washington Fire Department Dive Team should be considered more than a part-time job, although all members are paid for dive calls and practices. It is also a commitment to serving the City of Port Washington and the surrounding communities.